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PSU

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Penn State makes playoff case with 38-31 win over Wisconsin

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) As Penn State's band played and Lucas Oil Stadium rocked, thousands of fans clad in their traditional white shirts chanted ''We Are Penn State.''

It might have been more fitting if had it been ''We are Penn State - and we are back.''

Five years after a child sex abuse scandal tainted the reputation of the school and its football program along with the legacy of late coach Joe Paterno, quarterback Trace McSorley put the Nittany Lions squarely back in the national spotlight Saturday night with an epic 38-31 come-from-behind victory over No. 6 Wisconsin in the Big Ten championship game. It was the largest comeback in the six-year history of the game.

Before coach James Franklin left the field, he was already lobbying the playoff committee to put No. 8 Penn State in the final four.

''What I do know is that we just won the toughest conference in college football,'' he said. ''We've won nine straight. They say you're allowed to overcome minor setbacks. We've done that. It's up to you, committee.''

The Nittany Lions' resume is impressive.

Since rebounding from a 39-point thumping against Michigan on Sept. 24, Penn State (11-2, No. 7 CFP) has won every game, handed No. 2 Ohio State its only loss of the season and on Saturday rallied from a 21-point first-half deficit to end the Badgers' six-game winning streak. Penn State also finished as co-champs of the Big Ten East, a division many considered the toughest in the nation, and now has its first conference crown in eight years.

Many, including die-hard Penn State fans, wonder whether that will be enough to jump up three spots in the committee's rankings. Some fans even held signs that read ''we smell roses.''

While McSorley, who was named the game's MVP after a record-breaking performance, has even higher hopes, he's content to let his coach lobby for a playoff spot.

''Coach said what he needed to say, I'm going to enjoy this moment with my teammates,'' McSorley said before leaving the stage on the field.

It was certainly a moment worth savoring.

McSorley finished 22 of 31 for 384 yards with four TD passes, breaking the title game records for yards and TD passes. He also broke the school's single-season records for yards passing and touchdown passes.

And McSorley wasn't the only one putting on a show. Saeed Blacknall caught six passes, two for touchdowns, and finished with a championship-game record 155 yards. DaeSean Hamilton caught eight passes for 118 yards, most in the second half when the Nittany Lions repeatedly burned the nation's No. 3 defense with deep throws.

What was most impressive was how they won it.

Penn State trailed 28-7 with 5:15 left in the first half. That's when McSorley and the Nittany Lions' offense finally got in sync by scoring touchdowns on each of their next four possessions - the last an 18-yard TD pass to Saquon Barkley with 13:41 left in the game. The Nittany Lions never trailed again.

''They made some plays down the field and we didn't make enough to make McSorley feel uncomfortable,'' Wisconsin coach Paul Chryst said.

Wisconsin (10-3, No. 6 CFP) played without starting quarterback Alex Hornibrook but jumped to the big lead behind Corey Clement, who ran 21 times for 164 yards including a 67-yard TD run in the first quarter.

But the Badgers' usually stout defense allowed a season-high point total.

Wisconsin's final chance ended when Clement was stopped short of a first down on fourth-and-1 from the Penn State 24-yard line with 1:01 to go.

THE TAKEAWAY

Penn State: Consider the turnaround is complete. Five years after the Jerry Sandusky scandal tainted the program and the late Joe Paterno's legacy, and the ensuing NCAA sanctions seemed to put the Nittany Lions on the fast track to nowhere, they are Big Ten champs and look like a real national championship contender.

Wisconsin: After winning their first two title game appearances, the Badgers have now lost their two - in shocking fashion. Coach Paul Chryst never could have expected this from a defense that hadn't allowed more than 30 points all season and had only allowed No. 2 Ohio State to gain more than 400 yards in a game this year.

POLL IMPLICATIONS

Penn State: Coach James Franklin insisted all week that his team was focused more on winning a Big Ten title. Now, the lobbying can begin - if Franklin wants to. The argument goes like this: Co-champs of the toughest division in college football, championship game winners of the best conference in football and the only team to beat No. 2 Ohio State. Will it be enough?

Wisconsin: In the first half, the Badgers looked like they would be making their case to the committee. Instead, the Badgers have no idea what will happen next.

UP NEXT

Penn State: Will eagerly wait to see who is next on the schedule.

Wisconsin: Will wait to see who the Badgers will get in the postseason, one that could have been much more interesting had they protected their lead.

---

More AP college football: www.collegefootball.ap.org and https://twitter.com/AP-Top25

Copyright 2016 by STATS LLC. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC is strictly prohibited.

Scoring Summary
4th Quarter
No scoring this quarter
Field Goal 5:17
95-T.Davis 24 yards Field Goal is Good.
11
plays
29
yds
04:35
pos
31
38
Point After TD 13:41
95-T.Davis extra point is good.
plays
yds
pos
31
35
Touchdown 13:41
9-T.McSorley complete to 26-S.Barkley. 26-S.Barkley runs 18 yards for a touchdown.
4
plays
43
yds
01:19
pos
31
34
3rd Quarter
No scoring this quarter
Field Goal 0:20
37-A.Endicott 23 yards Field Goal is Good.
9
plays
10
yds
04:02
pos
31
28
Point After TD 4:22
95-T.Davis extra point is good.
plays
yds
pos
28
28
Touchdown 4:22
26-S.Barkley runs 1 yard for a touchdown.
8
plays
63
yds
03:17
pos
28
27
Point After TD 10:58
95-T.Davis extra point is good.
plays
yds
pos
28
21
Touchdown 10:58
9-T.McSorley complete to 13-S.Blacknall. 13-S.Blacknall runs 70 yards for a touchdown.
1
plays
70
yds
00:11
pos
28
20
2nd Quarter
No scoring this quarter
Point After TD 0:58
95-T.Davis extra point is good.
plays
yds
pos
28
14
Touchdown 0:58
9-T.McSorley complete to 13-S.Blacknall. 13-S.Blacknall runs 40 yards for a touchdown.
8
plays
90
yds
01:27
pos
28
13
Point After TD 5:15
37-A.Endicott extra point is good.
plays
yds
pos
28
7
Touchdown 5:15
23-D.Ogunbowale runs 7 yards for a touchdown.
5
plays
42
yds
02:31
pos
27
7
Point After TD 9:42
37-A.Endicott extra point is good.
plays
yds
pos
21
7
Touchdown 9:51
to PSU 26 FUMBLES. 43-R.Connelly runs 12 yards for a touchdown.
1
plays
69
yds
0:00
pos
20
7
1st Quarter
No scoring this quarter
Point After TD 1:10
95-T.Davis extra point is good.
plays
yds
pos
14
7
Touchdown 1:10
9-T.McSorley complete to 88-M.Gesicki. 88-M.Gesicki runs 33 yards for a touchdown.
5
plays
75
yds
01:56
pos
14
6
Point After TD 3:06
37-A.Endicott extra point is good.
plays
yds
pos
14
0
Touchdown 3:06
6-C.Clement runs 67 yards for a touchdown.
2
plays
72
yds
00:45
pos
13
0
Point After TD 5:27
37-A.Endicott extra point is good.
plays
yds
pos
7
0
Touchdown 5:27
20-A.Ramesh runs 1 yard for a touchdown.
15
plays
86
yds
08:00
pos
6
0
Team Stats
1st Downs 22 21
Rushing 11 3
Passing 9 16
Penalty 2 2
3rd Down Conv 5-12 3-10
4th Down Conv 0-1 0-3
Total Net Yards 432 444
Total Plays 70 60
Avg Gain 6.2 7.4
Net Yards Rushing 241 51
Rush Attempts 49 29
Avg Rush Yards 4.9 1.8
Net Yards Passing 191 393
Comp. - Att. 16-21 22-31
Yards Per Pass 9.1 12.7
Sacked - Yards Lost 2-17 1-9
Penalties - Yards 4-40 3-25
Touchdowns 4 5
Rushing TDs 3 1
Passing TDs 0 4
Other 1 0
Turnovers 0 1
Fumbles - Lost 2-0 1-1
Int. Thrown 0 0
Punts - Avg 4-34.8 2-49.0
Return Yards 62 88
Punts - Returns 1-0 1-5
Kickoffs - Returns 3-62 4-83
Int. - Returns 0-0 0-0
Kicking 5/6 6/6
Extra Points 4/4 5/5
Field Goals 1/2 1/1
Safeties 0 0
1234T
6 Wisconsin 10-3 14143031
7 Penn State 11-2 77141038
191 PASS YDS 393
241 RUSH YDS 51
432 TOTAL YDS 444
Passing CP/ATT YDS TD INT
B. Houston 13 QB
IN-GAME COMP% YDS TD INT RTG
76.2% 174 0 0 145.8
SEASON COMP% YDS TD INT RTG
65.9% 1086 5 3 144.7
B. Houston 16/21 174 0 0
Rushing ATT YDS TD LG
C. Clement 6 RB
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
21 164 1
SEASON ATT YDS TD
292 1304 14
C. Clement 21 164 1 67
B. Shaw 7 RB
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
15 62 0
SEASON ATT YDS TD
88 457 5
B. Shaw 15 62 0 20
D. Ogunbowale 23 RB
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
6 26 1
SEASON ATT YDS TD
86 484 4
D. Ogunbowale 6 26 1 9
J. Peavy 11 WR
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
1 5 0
SEASON ATT YDS TD
18 268 1
J. Peavy 1 5 0 5
A. Ramesh 20 FB
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
1 1 1
SEASON ATT YDS TD
16 48 3
A. Ramesh 1 1 1 1
Q. Cephus 87 WR
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
1 -3 0
SEASON ATT YDS TD
3 7 0
Q. Cephus 1 -3 0 -3
B. Houston 13 QB
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
4 -14 0
SEASON ATT YDS TD
26 10 0
B. Houston 4 -14 0 2
Receiving REC YDS TD LG
J. Peavy 11 WR
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
4 53 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
43 635 5
J. Peavy 4 53 0 24
C. Clement 6 RB
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
3 43 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
10 104 0
C. Clement 3 43 0 26
T. Fumagalli 81 TE
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
3 30 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
41 497 1
T. Fumagalli 3 30 0 19
D. Ogunbowale 23 RB
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
4 28 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
22 180 1
D. Ogunbowale 4 28 0 10
E. Steffes 44 TE
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
1 14 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
7 34 1
E. Steffes 1 14 0 14
K. Penniston 49 TE
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
1 6 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
6 102 2
K. Penniston 1 6 0 6
R. Wheelwright 15 WR
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
0 0 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
33 436 1
R. Wheelwright 0 0 0 0
G. Rushing 17 WR
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
0 0 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
10 109 0
G. Rushing 0 0 0 0
A. Ramesh 20 FB
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
0 0 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
3 24 0
A. Ramesh 0 0 0 0
Defense T-A SACK INT
R. Connelly 43 LB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
7-1 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
7-1 1 0.0
R. Connelly 7-1 0.0 0
V. Biegel 47 LB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
6-1 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
6-1 0 0.0
V. Biegel 6-1 0.0 0
L. Musso 19 S
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
6-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
6-0 5 0.0
L. Musso 6-0 0.0 0
D. Tindal 25 CB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
4-1 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
4-1 3 0.0
D. Tindal 4-1 0.0 0
T. Edwards 53 LB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
4-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
4-0 2 0.0
T. Edwards 4-0 0.0 0
D. Dixon 14 S
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
3-1 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
3-1 4 0.0
D. Dixon 3-1 0.0 0
T. Watt 42 LB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
3-1 0 1.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
3-1 1 1.0
T. Watt 3-1 1.0 0
O. Sagapolu 65 NT
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
3-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
3-0 0 0.0
O. Sagapolu 3-0 0.0 0
N. Jamerson 12 CB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
3-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
3-0 0 0.0
N. Jamerson 3-0 0.0 0
L. Figaro 31 S
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
2-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
2-0 0 0.0
L. Figaro 2-0 0.0 0
S. Shelton 8 CB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
1-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
1-0 4 0.0
S. Shelton 1-0 0.0 0
G. Dooley 5 LB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
1-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
1-0 0 0.0
G. Dooley 1-0 0.0 0
L. Jacobs 32 FB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
0-1 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
0-1 1 0.0
L. Jacobs 0-1 0.0 0
C. Obasih 34 DE
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
0-1 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
0-1 0 0.0
C. Obasih 0-1 0.0 0
G. Rand 93 DE
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
0-1 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
0-1 0 0.0
G. Rand 0-1 0.0 0
Kicking FG LG XP PTS
A. Endicott 37 K
IN-GAME FG XP
1/2 4/4
SEASON FG XP
12/18 32/34
A. Endicott 1/2 23 4/4 7
Punting NO AVG IN20 LG
A. Lotti 15 P
IN-GAME NO AVG IN20
4 34.8 2
SEASON NO AVG IN20
48 37.5 2
A. Lotti 4 34.8 2 39
Kickoff Returns NO AVG LG TD
N. Jamerson 12 CB
IN-GAME NO AVG LG TD
3 20.7 23 0
SEASON NO AVG LG TD
12 21.1 23 0
N. Jamerson 3 20.7 23 0
Punt Returns NO AVG LG TD
J. Peavy 11 WR
IN-GAME NO AVG LG TD
1 0.0 0 0
SEASON NO AVG LG TD
17 5.8 0 0
J. Peavy 1 0.0 0 0
Passing CP/ATT YDS TD INT
T. McSorley 9 QB
IN-GAME COMP% YDS TD INT RTG
71% 384 4 0 217.6
SEASON COMP% YDS TD INT RTG
57.5% 3360 25 5 156.6
T. McSorley 22/31 384 4 0
Rushing ATT YDS TD LG
S. Barkley 26 RB
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
19 83 1
SEASON ATT YDS TD
247 1302 16
S. Barkley 19 83 1 22
A. Robinson 6 RB
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
3 7 0
SEASON ATT YDS TD
28 137 5
A. Robinson 3 7 0 4
T. McSorley 9 QB
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
6 -20 0
SEASON ATT YDS TD
140 352 6
T. McSorley 6 -20 0 3
Receiving REC YDS TD LG
S. Blacknall 13 WR
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
6 155 2
SEASON REC YDS TD
15 347 3
S. Blacknall 6 155 2 70
D. Hamilton 5 WR
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
8 118 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
34 506 1
D. Hamilton 8 118 0 38
M. Gesicki 88 TE
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
3 58 1
SEASON REC YDS TD
47 668 4
M. Gesicki 3 58 1 33
C. Godwin 12 WR
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
3 33 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
50 795 9
C. Godwin 3 33 0 14
S. Barkley 26 RB
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
2 20 1
SEASON REC YDS TD
23 347 3
S. Barkley 2 20 1 18
D. Thompkins 3 WR
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
0 0 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
25 431 1
D. Thompkins 0 0 0 0
I. Charles 11 WR
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
0 0 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
2 106 1
I. Charles 0 0 0 0
Defense T-A SACK INT
B. Bell 11 LB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
12-1 0 1.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
12-1 1 1.0
B. Bell 12-1 1.0 0
Ma. Allen 2 S
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
10-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
10-0 0 0.0
Ma. Allen 10-0 0.0 0
C. Cothran 52 DT
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
7-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
7-0 0 0.0
C. Cothran 7-0 0.0 0
M. Golden 6 S
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
5-1 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
5-1 1 0.0
M. Golden 5-1 0.0 0
M. Bowen 43 LB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
4-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
4-0 0 0.0
M. Bowen 4-0 0.0 0
G. Haley 15 CB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
4-1 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
4-1 0 0.0
G. Haley 4-1 0.0 0
J. Cabinda 40 LB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
3-4 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
3-4 0 0.0
J. Cabinda 3-4 0.0 0
G. Sickels 90 DE
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
2-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
2-0 0 0.0
G. Sickels 2-0 0.0 0
K. Givens 30 DT
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
2-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
2-0 0 0.0
K. Givens 2-0 0.0 0
T. Brown 19 DE
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
2-1 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
2-1 0 0.0
T. Brown 2-1 0.0 0
E. Schwan 94 DE
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
2-1 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
2-1 0 0.0
E. Schwan 2-1 0.0 0
C. Campbell 1 CB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
1-1 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
1-1 1 0.0
C. Campbell 1-1 0.0 0
K. Farmer 7 S
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
1-0 0 1.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
1-0 0 1.0
K. Farmer 1-0 1.0 0
J. Smith 12 CB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
1-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
1-0 1 0.0
J. Smith 1-0 0.0 0
A. White 93 DT
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
1-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
1-0 0 0.0
A. White 1-0 0.0 0
P. Cothren 41 DT
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
0-1 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
0-1 0 0.0
P. Cothren 0-1 0.0 0
Kicking FG LG XP PTS
T. Davis 95 K
IN-GAME FG XP
1/1 5/5
SEASON FG XP
22/24 55/55
T. Davis 1/1 24 5/5 8
Punting NO AVG IN20 LG
Kickoff Returns NO AVG LG TD
M. Sanders 24 RB
IN-GAME NO AVG LG TD
4 20.8 29 0
SEASON NO AVG LG TD
30 21.1 29 0
M. Sanders 4 20.8 29 0
Punt Returns NO AVG LG TD
J. Reid 29 CB
IN-GAME NO AVG LG TD
1 5.0 5 0
SEASON NO AVG LG TD
22 7.5 5 0
J. Reid 1 5.0 5 0
1st POSS PLAYS YDS RESULT
13:27 WISC 19 8:00 15 81 TD
3:51 WISC 28 0:45 2 72 TD
1:04 WISC 25 0:41 2 9
2nd POSS PLAYS YDS RESULT
15:00 WISC 34 3:07 7 16 Punt
7:46 PSU 42 2:31 5 42 TD
3:25 PSU 43 0:50 3 3 Punt
0:58 WISC 25 0:28 4 17
3rd POSS PLAYS YDS RESULT
15:00 WISC 25 3:46 7 5 FG Miss
10:52 WISC 19 3:07 5 5 Punt
4:22 WISC 25 4:02 9 10 FG
4th POSS PLAYS YDS RESULT
13:33 WISC 23 3:33 6 14 Punt
5:14 WISC 25 4:09 10 51
1st POSS PLAYS YDS RESULT
14:55 PSU 29 1:17 3 7 Punt
5:23 PSU 16 1:25 3 3 Punt
3:06 PSU 25 1:56 5 75 TD
2nd POSS PLAYS YDS RESULT
11:45 PSU 12 1:54 5 0 TD
9:37 PSU 23 1:45 5 19
5:15 PSU 25 1:45 6 32 FUMBLE
2:25 PSU 10 1:27 8 90 TD
3rd POSS PLAYS YDS RESULT
11:09 PSU 30 0:11 1 70 TD
7:39 PSU 37 3:17 8 63 TD
0:11 PSU 19 0:00 1 38
4th POSS PLAYS YDS RESULT
15:00 WISC 43 1:19 4 43 TD
9:52 PSU 36 4:35 11 58 FG
1:01 PSU 24 0:58 4 -19